Apr 19

Make a Positive First Impression at Your Summer Internship

Are you heading off to a summer job or internship? This could be an important step towards your future career – so get ready to make a positive first impression!

  1. Be on your best behavior. You are constantly building your brand and people are forming their impressions of you. The way you drive to work, pull into the parking lot, walk in the front door (you get the idea) are all opportunities for you to send positive messages or avoid negative impressions. The person you cut off on your way to your first day could be your co-worker, or worse – your boss!
  2. Being on time is being late. Arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes before your scheduled work time. Boot up your computer, get your coffee, turn off your cell notifications, and be ready to get to work!
  3. Be a resourceful solution seeker. Try to research, ask peers, and problem solve on your own. It’s much better to be able to say or show what you have done to finish the project and miss the mark, than to miss the mark without anything to show your effort. With that said – don’t spend four hours trying to solve an issue when the project is due in five hours. Know when to ask for help.
  4. Be professional. Dress appropriately. Put your cell phone down! Be cognizant of others in hallways, elevators, bathrooms and common areas. The people you’re encountering, at this point, are not your friends (yet), and they are not your classmates. No matter how casual it may seem, it’s a place of employment and different rules apply.
  5. Make your own assessments. As you work, take time to observe the culture, management styles, people, and processes. Can you see yourself fitting in and thriving at this company? If yes, be sure to share that, when appropriate. Connect with your co-workers and contacts on LinkedIn before you leave at end of summer, send thank you letters that express why you liked it and what you learned, and stay in touch. If you did not like it, don’t broadcast your disinterest. Instead, connect with your co-workers and contacts on LinkedIn before you leave and send thank you letters that express what you learned. You never know who you may meet again at another organization.


By Elizabeth Bader
Manager of Career and Professional Development
Bryan School of Business and Economics